Women must stop withdrawing sexual cases - Mantashe

2017-05-29 21:29
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (Lerato Sejake, News24)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Johannesburg - The ANC's National Executive Committee has urged women to not withdraw sexual cases and for families not to negotiate the matter away.

The call came after it was discussed at length during the party's NEC meeting at the weekend.

Briefing the media on the outcomes of the meeting at Luthuli House, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the country should consciously affirm the freedom of the girls and women.

"Our families must stop negotiating sexual cases and women themselves must stop withdrawing sexual cases. The law must be allowed to take its course. As a nation, we must redouble our efforts to reignite economic growth to ensure that women do not seek economic refuge in abusive relationships," he said.

"We would have been successful in our quest to build a truly non-sexist society and [would have] dealt with the brutal effects of patriarchy when in South Africa, a young woman in the middle of the night, can walk alone without the fear of assault, attack or rape, going back home from wherever she comes from."

READ: South Africa: A country where women and children end up as grim stats

Campaigns

Mantashe said while there was no "magic bullet" that would do away with violence against women and children overnight, condemnation of such behaviour by society alone would not solve this problem.

"The ANC therefore calls to action all its structures and society at large to become actively engaged in campaigns that involve communities in the prevention of femicide, rape and child molestation.

"ANC branches must actively lead a campaign to encourage the defence of the most vulnerable people in our society," he said, adding, however, that words like 'weakness' and 'vulnerability' should be dropped when speaking about women.

"We must affirm their inalienable right to justice, safety, freedom and equality," he said.

Mantashe said the campaign must assist the country in understanding the value of life "and that physical, mental and sexual abuse robs people of their dignity".

The ANC has tasked its branches with establishing street committees and was leading and driving Know Your Neighbourhood campaigns. Branches must set up early warning systems for child abuse and the rape and abuse of girls.

Justice system

They should also establish a single contact point in each street for reporting of incidences of brutality and violence as well as meet every station commander to advise them of the contact points and issues arising from these early warning systems.

"Government must strengthen the justice system to better deal with cases of gender based violence. Programmes of the ANC-led government must target both victims and perpetrators.

"We must ensure the establishment of a special unit in each police station specially trained for this type of work. This will ensure that we reduce barriers to reporting sexual offences and domestic violence," said Mantashe.

Last week Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu was heavily criticised for her statements during eNCA's weekly investigative current affairs programme Checkpoint.

Speaking about Karabo Mokoena, 22, who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, Sandile Mantoe, Shabangu said: "Whilst the late Karabo Mokoena came across as very strong, internally, she was weak. She was weak and hence she became a victim of abuse. As she tried to deal with her situation in sharing it with other abused women, she ended up being a victim of abuse."

Later, at a press conference she said Mokoena was vulnerable.

Read more on:    anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  gender rights

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